I am s beginning flute player and I'm getting some squeeks when I play notes.  I suspect it may be the way that I am blowing.  I blow pretty lightly and I work to play slow.  Anything else I should do?  My playing, especially with lower notes, is soft and I'm trying to get more volume.  Thanks, Joel

Hey there, Joel!
I believe we all could have said the same thing when we first began to play flute.  Learning to produce a clear tone while blowing fairly lightly is a great idea.  Many times, new flute players blow really hard, and get dizzy after awhile, because of it.

I could write a long description of how to position the flute, how to angle the airstream that you are blowing, etc.  But I would rather have you watch some video that would be more fun, and easier to understand.  Here is a link for beginning a great embouchure (how you position and shape your mouth when you blow.)  http://www.blockiflute.com/

Look at the video of how to use the "pneumo-pro."  Even if you don't buy one, watching what they do will still help you.

Look at the video that talks of "harmonics" and the "olymic ski jumping exercise."  That will help you as you play notes that are high, and then transition to lower ones.

All of the other videos are pretty good for beginners, too!

Basically, you want to learn to always focus the stream of air that you blow, exactly in the right place for the note you want to play.  You want to hit "that sweet spot" on the lip plate, where you focus all the air that you blow, into playing the note, with no wasted air swirling off to the sides.  Any air not part of the sound, will make a hissing noise that you don't want to hear as part of your note.

Good playing, Joel.  Feel free to contact me anytime.  I love to hear how students who ask me questions are doing.

Bye for now.


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Denise J. Sipe


These are the topics I CAN answer... How to play, from beginner to professional. Tips and tricks, breathing, auxilliary fingering techniques Tone Quality Listening--Developing your ears Technique --Bringing the notes up and off of the page, and making them "your own music". Playing solo, small groups, bands, orchestras Digitally reproduced, vs live accompaniment Accompanying vocalists, dancers, other instrumentals.


Soloist, small groups, large marching bands, symphony orchestras, stage bands and orchestras, theater, church music, jazz, classical, folk music

I'm independent. But professionals have often hired me to play in their groups. Giving back to the community where I played in the High School Band, I am a former member of Williamsport, MD Community Band, a current member of New Horizons Band in Hagerstown, MD, and Bass Flute Player for the TOOT UNCOMMON FLUTES flute choir of Williamsport, MD. I often perform solo as "Toot Uncommon" and had a web-based business where I sold flutes of all sizes, shapes, and colors. The show is uncommon. The locations are often uncommon. And the variety of musical instruments is definitely uncommon! I am a member of NFA, the National Flute Association.

I didn't write for any publications. I leave that up to the more elite musicians.

This should have been my career. I am an engineer,and a trained professional clown. But my music is my passion. Flute is my favorite, though I also play many woodwinds and some brass. I am currently playing percussion in a volunteer concert band, and have drum corps experience, where I often played marching bass drum. I am totally self-taught. But I have often played in groups made up mostly of professionals. All in all I am still the area's best-kept secret.

Awards and Honors
Biggest honor of my career was playing an emotional piece, and looking out over the audience. Two big, tough construction workers had tears rolling down their cheeks.

Past/Present Clients
I've been teaching beginning and intermediate flute/piccolo students of all ages in MD and PA since the early 1970s.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.